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Sue and Settle: Regulating Behind Closed Doors
What is Sue and Settle?
"Sue and Settle" refers to when a federal agency agrees to a settlement agreement, in a lawsuit from special interest groups, to create priorities and rules outside of the normal rulemaking process. The agency intentionally relinquishes statutory discretion by committing to timelines and priorities that often realign agency duties. These settlement agreements are negotiated behind closed doors with no participation from the public or affected parties.
As an example, between 2009 and 2012, EPA chose not to defend itself in over 60 lawsuits from special interest advocacy groups. These cases resulted in settlement agreements and EPA publishing more than 100 new regulations - including the recent Clean Power Plan.
What are the Economic Implications of our Findings?
Recent Notices of Intent to Sue on EPA's Website
|7/8/2015||CAA, State of North Carolina
Failure to Approve or Disapprove North Carolina's PM 2.5 State Implementation Submittal, dated September 5, 2013, pursuant to Clean Air Act Section 110(k).
|6/17/2015||CWA, State of Maine
60-day NOI from State of Maine to sue EPA over failure to approve WQS in Indian country within the State where EPA had previously approved such WQS in State waters.
|6/11/2015||CAA, Preserve Pepe'keo Health and Environment
Failure to take timely action regarding petition to object to the Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC ("Hu Honua") Title V operating permit.
|6/1/2015||CAA, Sierra Club
For failure to take action on 2008 Ozone SIPs and related FIP commitments.
For a full list of EPA's Notices of Intent to Sue, visit http://www.epa.gov/ogc/noi.html.
What is New in Sue and Settle?
- 6/30: The Hill | Supreme Court overturns landmark EPA air pollution rule
- 6/30: E&E Publishing | Petition urges EPA to regulate CO2 under toxics law (subscription required)
- 6/29: USA Today | High court blocks power plant regulations without cost estimates
- 6/29: WSJ | High Court Strikes Down EPA Limits on Mercury Emissions
- 6/26: Courthouse News Service | Big Win for Environmentalists Will Force EPA to Study Glyphosate
- 6/25: AP | Feds defend Utah prairie dogs rules in closely watched case
- 6/23: National Review | Local Democrats' Uprising against Draconian Obama EPA Regs
- 6/19: Chicago Sun-Times | EPA proposes tougher mileage standards for trucks
- 6/15: Capital Press | EPA falls under scrutiny at Senate Judiciary hearing
- 6/11: High Country News | Prairie dog case challenges ESA
- 6/11: Environmental Health News | US EPA forced to decide this month on pesticide's fate
- 6/10: AP | Court strikes rules to cut coal plant pollution
- 6/9: AP | Court tosses suits challenging climate change plan
- 6/3: Watchdog Arena | Obama delists 12 endangered species, adds hundreds more
- 6/2: AP | Appeals court sides with EPA on air pollution limits
- 6/2: Reuters | U.S. floats conservation measures for threatened bull trout
- 6/2: AP | Fish and Wildlife to release bull trout recovery plan for 5 Western states
- 6/2: Deseret News | Utah prairie dog ruling stokes national conversation about endangered species
See all -- Sue and Settle News Archive
Interactive List of All Sue & Settle Cases
Also see this alternate table, which lists court cases resolved by agency action in response to legal challenges.